I have had some pretty unacceptable servicing on my bike. What is the worst story you could tell?
When I bought a really expensive recumbent...
The LBS did not sell recumbents, and they recommended me to go to the recumbent specialist 20km away. Lets call him RS, recumbent specialist. I dont own a car, so I had to borrow one for each trip there.
Pickup day. I travelled to the specialist, did a check on the bike. There I found a few problems: The chain was too short, and running very badly, because the frame was extended to the limit, and the chain was overstretched. The bike had a dynamo and the rear light was battery-driven, which is both unnecessary and against local laws. He didnt want to fix that on the spot, and I had to come back another day.
Pickup2 day. Go there again, chain was now okay, and the light had been replaced by a dynamo-driven one. RS tried to charge for the now correct rear light.
First hundred km: The bike drove very wobbly, and I did not find the reason at first. Thought it was the fat tires, which were my choice, replaced those with smaller ones. Still wobbly. In the end I noticed, when driving, the chain sawed on the front brake. (Magura HS33) I did not notice earlier because the noise was dampened by the chain lining, and when standing the chain would not touch the brake. Also, the hydraulics of the front brake became lose, sending me across a busy road crossing (RS: happens). And all screws to the seat losened (RS: You're too heavy - I had informed him of my weight in advance). And the handlebar (RS: I dont tighten that much for safety reasons - yes, really, he said that). RS's comment on the brake being sawed on by the chain: Thats your problem, you chose this brake. Also, on the first visit, he refused to discuss in front of a witness, sending my friend out of his shop.
He offered to keep the bike until after the bike manufacturers summer break in "two or four weeks", to start researching the matter after that.
Problem was, I had had a broken shoulder, and could not yet ride a normal bike for a while. I needed the recumbent! In the end I decided to repair the bike myself - I am a technician anyways. I did gave it back for two months in winter to fix a few more problems.
The seat screws had to be tightened every 100km. Also, the washers were of the wrong size and damaged the frame paint. (rust incoming). Took a few more attempts to get RS to acknowledge that. After a year, he found out: Manufacturer had inadvertently packed the wrong screws. The new setup works fine.
I replaced the brake with a disc model. I wasn't hot for the rim brake anyway, just had thought about making the bike electric, which plan I scrapped for other reasons. It took a bit of time for RS to get a replacement for the sawed-on brake part.
I did not have the right to just give the bike back: By German law, the vendor has to be given due time to repair each malady. Bad layout of the product is not a reason to return it, as long as it somewhat works.
By now, warranty is over, and a few more things happened: Sprocket broke. My replacement wheels probed very flimsy: Flat about every 2k km. Chain now starts to run very badly. Will have to replace the lining - or better yet, make a guide to avoid the lining.
After two years of diligent care, the front hub is bust - it was the cheapest model available. Also, a spoke broke on the front wheel.
But apart from that, I am happy with the bike. By now it is reliable, and fun to ride. Even with a healed shoulder, I stick to recumbents. Looking forward to another few thousand km this year.
To add the practical twist on the whole thing:
- Recumbents are technically very different from other bikes, and despite my knowledge of bikes I overlooked a few massive problems when first inspecting.
- Do not rely on something newly bought. If you have serious problems with the goods, you might be pressured into accepting bad service. If you have to rely, try to get the vendor to agree on receiving part of the payment late, after the goods are proven okay.
- If you are technically inclined, buy a good frame with cheap components and and add quality yourself. It is more fun that way. Also more expensive, sadly.